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Crucial MX300 525GB and 1050GB SSD Review: King of Price To Performance Ratio

Author: HP   Date:  Manufacture: Micron   Product Name: MX300 525GB & 1050GB   Price: $129.99 & $257.99   Warranty: 3 Years

Introduction

Crucial logo

Micron is one of the largest flash storage manufacturers in the world and they have an excellent reputation in the world in high performance memory technologies which includes DRAM, NAND and NOR Flash. In August of 2016, Micron announced that they will be releasing a Crucial MX300 SSD series ranging in capacity from 275GB and all the way up to 2TB. The main competitor of the Crucial MX300 is the Samsung 850 EVO. The MX300 uses 3D NAND TLC memory while the Samsung 850 EVO uses 3D NAND MLC memory. With that being said, the MX300 is Micron/Crucial's first 3D NAND drive and competition in 3D NAND technology is good for consumers because Samsung has had a monopoly in 3D NAND for far too long now.

The four most important components of an SSD are the NAND flash memory, the controller, the DRAM and the firmware. When it comes to NAND flash technology, SLC drives are the fastest and most reliable but are also the most expensive. Both MLC and TLC are mostly used in consumer grade memory, with MLC being better in terms of performance compared to TLC which has a lower performance and lower cost. TLC is normally used in entry level SSDs while MLC is used in higher end SSDs. Two years ago, Samsung became the first manufacturer to release SSDs with 3D Vertical NAND and that was the 850 Pro which still remains the fastest consumer SATA SSD on the market.

Crucial MX300 SSD

Today we are going to look at the Crucial MX300 525GB and 1050GB models that retail for $129.99 and $257.99 respectively and come with 3 years of warranty. If we compare the MX300 to the 850 EVO, the 850 EVO 500GB retails for $170 and the 850 EVO 1TB retails for $325. That not only makes the MX300 cheaper by $40 for the 525GB model and $67 for the 1TB model but you also get extra space, 525GB instead of 500GB and 1050GB instead of 1000GB. Crucial advertises the MX300 with read speeds up to 530 MB/s and write speeds up to 510 MB/s with IOPS values in 83K write and 92K read.

Crucial's 3D-NAND technology is built to endure 160TB written (TBW) for the 525GB model and 360TB for the 1TB model. If we compare the endurance of the MX300 525GB versus the 850 EVO 500GB, the MX300 525GB's endurance equates to approximately 44GB daily read/write workload over a 10-year period. The 850 EVO on the other hand has a 150TB written (TBW) which equates to 40GB daily read/write over a 10-year period.

Crucial MX300 SSD 1TB

The MX300 offers many advance features such as Adaptive Thermal Protection technology which dynamically adjusts storage component activity to help keep your system cool and minimizes the risk of damage caused by overheating. It also includes AES-256-bit hardware-based encryption that secures your data without the performance loss often experienced with software-based encryption. Both the MX300 525GB and 1050GB models use the same Marvell 88SS1074 4-channel controller and 384-bit three-bit per cell TLC NAND. The controller cache is provided by a Micron LPDDR3 1333MHz DRAM package. If your laptop is still using a traditional HDD then consider swapping it for an SSD to improve battery life and performance. A typical hard drive uses 6.8W whereas the MX300 consumes 0.075W of power.

These are all the advanced features the MX300 supports:
-Dynamic Write Acceleration
-Redundant Array of Independent NAND
-Multistep Data Integrity Algorithm
-Adaptive Thermal Protection
-Power Loss Protection
-Data Path Protection
-Active Garbage Collection
-TRIM Support
-SelfMonitoring and Reporting Technology
-Error Correction Code (ECC)
-Device Sleep Support

Specifications

Crucial MX300 Series Lineup
Model:MX300 275GBMX300 525GBMX300 750GBMX300 1TBMX300 2TB
Price:$84.99$129.99$179.99$257.99$514.99
Interface:SATA III
Form Factor:2.5"
Flash Technology:3-D Vertical
Controller:Marvell 88SS1074
DRAM:Micron LPDDR3
NAND:Micron 384 Gbit 32-layer 3D TLC (Gen 1)
Sequential Read:530 MB/s
Sequential Write:500 MB/s510 MB/s
Random Read:55,000 IOPS92,000 IOPS
Random Write:83,000 IOPS
Endurance:80 TB TBW160 TB TBW220 TB TBW360 TB TBW400 TB TBW
Operating Temperature:0°C ~ +70°C
MTBF:1.5 Million hours
DevSleep:4mW
Slumber Power:75mW
Encryption:TCG Opal 2.0 & IEEE-1667 (eDrive)
Warranty:3 Years

Packaging

Crucial MX300 Packaging

The Crucial MX300 SSDs come in a silver aluminum enclosure and feature a standard SATA III interface. Crucial has included Acronis True Image HD so you can transfer your data from your old drive to your new MX300 SSD and a 7mm to 9.5mm drive spacer to help fit the SSD in notebooks. You can download the Crucial Storage Executive software which helps monitor and enhance the performance of your SSD. It allows you to update the firmware, monitor, secure erase and reset the SSD’s encryption password. Make sure to enable Momentum Cache feature in Storage Executive to instantly improve burst performance. Momentum Cache is not restricted by SATA bus throughput limitations but instead it uses additional DRAM bandwidth to achieve increased burst performance. You can also monitor your SSD’s temperature and health, and track how much storage you’ve used.

Test Methodology

Test Setup
Processor:Intel i7-6900K Stock
Motherboard:ASUS X99 Deluxe II
RAM:Crucial Ballistix Tactical 16GB 3000Mhz
Graphics Card:Sapphire R9 390X
Storage:Crucial MX300 525GB
Crucial MX300 1050GB
Samsung 840 Pro 256GB
Samsung 850 EVO 500GB
Samsung 850 EVO 250GB
Samsung 850 Pro 256GB
OCZ Trion 150 480GB
Power Supply:SilverStone ST80F-TI
Heatsink:Noctua NH-U14S
OS:Windows 10 Home 64-Bit
Thermal Compound:Noctua NT-H1
Case:SilverStone PM01

To make sure these drives perform at their maximum performance, we will be disabling all the power saving features in the BIOS (CPU C-state, C1E, EIST etc). The testing was done on a fresh install of Windows 10 64-bit with the latest windows updates installed. We disabled a bunch of unnecessary services and removed all the bloatware from Windows 10 to make sure there were as few processes running as possible during the testing.

We'll be using an Intel Ivy Bridge i7-6900K CPU that will run on stock settings. We're using the ASUS X99 Deluxe II motherboard with the latest BIOS version 1401 from ASUS. Installing and using an SSD is pretty straight forward, simply connect one end of your SATA cable to the SATA port in your motherboard and the other end of the cable to your SSD. After installing windows, make sure to check if you have the latest firmware.

Benchmark Software:

+ Windows 10 Boot Time
+ AS SSD
+ IOMeter
+ HD Tune Pro
+ PCMark 8
+ ISO File Copy

Results

Crucial MX300 Boot Time
Boot times are measured from the time it takes between hitting the power button to reaching the Windows desktop.

Crucial MX300 AS SSD
The AS SSD benchmark is a popular benchmarking software used to measure the performance of an SSD. In this test we are measuring the overall score.

Crucial MX300 AS SSD Sequential
Once again, we are using the AS SSD software to measure sequential read and write speed of each drive.

Crucial MX300 IOMeter
In this test, we are using IOMeter which is one of the best application for stress testing the random IO performance of an SSD. IOMeter is set to use 4KB file size chunks and will stress the SSD with random 4 KB files.

Crucial MX300 HD Tune Pro
Here we are using HD Tune Pro to measure read and write IOPS. HD Tune Pro is a Hard Disk Utility with many functions such as error checking, S.M.A.R.T and benchmarking.

Crucial MX300 PCMark 8
In this test we are using the PCMark 8 Storage benchmark to test the performance of SSDs. Pretty much every drive performed nearly the same in this test.

Crucial MX300 ISO File Copy
To represent a large file usage scenario, we are copying a 4GB ISO image to a different folder on the same drive. The MX300 SSDs performed the best in this test with the lowest time.

Conclusion

If you take price into consideration, the MX300 SSDs are hard to beat. The MX300 offers consumers good performance and plenty of advanced features to keep their data fast and secure. Crucial's MX300 SSDs maintain a relatively high performance compared to the 850 EVO and they do so at a much cheaper cost. Samsung does have the highest performing SSDs on the market but Crucial's MX300 SSDs come with more space and a better price per GB than the 850 EVO.

Pros:
+ Excellent Price/Performance
+ Cheaper Than 850 EVO
+ Extra Usable Space
+ Good Firmware

Cons:
- 3 Years Warranty

The only downside that I see with the MX300 SSDs is the short three year warranty. Samsung provides 5-years warranty for their 850 EVO SSDs and 10-years for their 850 Pro SSDs. I think that Crucial/Micron should increase the warranty to 5-years to compete with Samsung. Other than that, the MX300 is a very good drive that should last a long time without any problems and I have had several Crucial drives and memory modules and have never had any problems with any of them.

In terms of real world usage, the MX300 is just as fast as the Samsung 850 EVO and you wouldn't notice any performance difference between the two. Crucial ships their MX300 SSDs with Acronis True Image that can be used to provide data protection including, backup, archive, access and recovery. If you're looking to buy a good, reliable SSD while not breaking bank, the new Crucial MX300 SSDs are speedy and affordable. Overall, I believe the Crucial MX300 525GB and 1050GB SSDs deserve our Editor's Choice award.

Final Score9.5

RelaxedTech Editors


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